In 2012, Folorunsho Alakija entered an elite class- she was once the richest black woman alive. 61 years old and counting, Folorunsho hit the world wide stage with a big bang when she usurped Oprah Winfrey’s decade long ownership of that accolade. Even her country men were astounded by this feat. To cook the broth of success, add a little banking for taste, fashion for aroma and oil, well, for consistency; just kidding though.
Billionaire Folorunsho was born into a polygamous family of…wait for it, 52 children!!! Feels overwhelming doesn’t it? Easy to get lost in the pack; Folorunsho though, had no intentions of getting lost, not then, not now.
After her Primary education in the UK, Folorunsho returned to Nigeria for her Secondary education at Muslim High School Sagamu; she underwent secretarial training thereafter and worked several secretarial jobs until she landed her career-boosting job as a bank Secretary at Nigeria’s International Merchant Bank. Without further training either as an Accountant or Legal Practitioner, Folorunsho rose through the ranks to become the bank’s first Head of Corporate Affairs. Destiny and hard work combined propelled her even further, and within a few years, she joined the bank’s Treasury department as a money market treasurer.
Content but not satisfied, Folorunsho embarked on a trip to the UK once more. This time, she went to bolster her budding flair for fashion which had since lain dormant since the days she helped her mother sell fabric as a wee little girl. Supreme Stitches was birthed upon her return to Nigeria and became the one-stop place for high fashion.
Boosted by the success of her fashion house which tended to upscale clientele; translated to mean folks with lots of money, Folorunsho peeked over the wall into the oil sector, was pleased with what she saw, and decided to get a piece of the action. Now we [I] would think that most fashion-forward women wouldn’t want to get their hands dirty with the business of oil, but not her. In 1993, her company, Famfa Oil Limited was granted an oil prospecting license and acquired an oil bloc which was commercially worth billions. A little controversy ensued when the Federal Government of Nigeria injudiciously acquired 50percent of the oil reserves. Folorunsho spent ages in court battling the unlawful seizure, and in May 2012 Famfa Limited emerged victorious; thus Folorunsho became the richest woman in Nigeria and most of Africa with a net worth of $600,000 and counting. Bravo!!!
Married with four children, a tip of her house management strategy will be a lesson well learnt. Folorunsho also founded the Rose of Sharon Foundation in 2008. It caters to widows, providing them with workshops to connect with other widows, granting them interest free loans and scholarships for their children.
Still celebrating Folorunsho’s dining at the table of Queens; we hear that another African Queen, Isabel dos Santos, the oldest daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos has arrogated the crown for herself. Isabel is reported to have bought more shares of publicly traded companies in Portugal, including shares in a bank and a cable TV company. Combined with assets the 40-year-old owns in at least one bank in Angola, she has reportedly pushed her net worth over the $1billion mark.
Well, well, what can I say? Let the best [richest] woman win!!! And let her be African!!!